Stromae is the Belgian prodigy that’s been making waves all around Europe not to be confused as French as the young man is incredibly proud of his Belgian and Rwandan origins. Over in the UK people know him for his hit song Alors On Dance (so we dance) which entered the top 40 and is frequently heard on the dancefloor. In continental Europe Stromae’s fame is less subtle, in fact the young artist has top charts across Europe with singles Alors On Danse and Papaoutai and breaking social conventions that say that music should be in English in order to break the global market. Last night Stromae was in London and played Koko. It’s a good venue, it’s great to look at, it’s got a decent sound system and you can get a pretty good view if you know your bearings.
You would have been forgiven for thinking that you were in France last night (or other French speaking countries) as Koko was packed with French speakers and the ambience was very francophone indeed. Last time we saw Stromae he played a sold out show at Scala, which swept us off our feet and last night almost seemed like a déjà vu. The young Belgian artist seemed very much at ease and in his element up on stage. Just as we remembered him, Stromae was flawless, he’s singing was always pitch perfect and his dance moves were always a mix of strange and wonderful moves. The set didn’t seem to change since we saw Stromae at Scala but the lack of change in music was compensated with a brand new stage and some pretty cool visuals. With him Stromae had his faithful and talented band but there was also an army of Stromaes on the screen which seemed to mimic all his moves. Most of Stromae’s catalogue is designed for dancing and that’s exactly what we did.
Te Quiero was fun and a bit exotic whilst Sommeil, Ave Cesaria and Quand C’est? were mellower. The biggest tracks of the night were the ones the artist has released over on the continent and those got the most explosive reactions. People jumped up and down for Tous Les Memes or even Humain A L’Eau but it was his hit Alors On Danse that really cranked up the heat in the room. And being a nineties dance kid Stromae didn’t resist mashing up 90s dance hits to his own, Rhythm Is A Dancer, Insomnia and others got veteran dancers the fix they needed last night.
Stromae ended his set with his hit Papaoutai which had a Caribbean feel to it and also Merci, which says it all really. Once again we are delighted to have taken the time to check out Stromae and can’t wait for him to get the recognition he deserves over here in the UK. Next time he’s in town you should check him out too.